ARRANGING A BAPTISM OR THANKSGIVING SERVICE
Baptism (or Christening) is how we formally welcome both children and adults into the life of the church. In baptism we thank God for the gift of life and acknowledge his love. As a parent, when you bring your child to baptism, you start your child on a journey of faith and in recognising God’s gift you commit yourself, with the church, to sharing this journey with your child. It is therefore a significant thing for you and your family and you will want to think carefully about it. We as a church will commit ourselves to you too and we will continue to offer you and your family the spiritual and community support you and your family need.
Baptism gives children the right to receive Holy Communion and we offer this to all baptised children as soon as they are old enough to appreciate something of its significance, usually at the age of 7.
We strongly encourage families to take their pre-school children to “Little Saints” on Thursdays as a way of helping their children into church life and as a way of fulfilling the promises that they have made on their children’s behalf.
If the commitment of Baptism isn’t what you desire, we also offer a service of “Thanksgiving for the Birth of a Child” which celebrates your child but without the need to make a commitment of faith.
If you would like to enquire about a baptism or thanksgiving, call the Rector (01275 873257) and arrange an appointment to talk this through. Either way we will help you celebrate your good news!
Your child’s baptism will normally take place during the main Sunday service (usually in the morning) or we can also offer a “private baptism” with just you and your family and friends present.
Confirmation is offered by the diocese to adults or young people who have been baptised and who have come to an independent faith. It is usual for young people to be at least 13 before this is appropriate and frequently it is adults who come for confirmation.
Frequently asked questions
Q What is the difference between a baptism and a christening?
A None, they are just different words for the same thing.
Q Can we have a private service of baptism?
A Baptisms usually take place in the church’s main service, because they are a public declaration that your child has become part of the church family. It is important that the church congregation is there to support you and welcome your child. However, if personal circumstances make this difficult, talk to the clergy.
Q What is the right age for baptism?
A Baptism can happen at any age. What matters is that those concerned believe it is right to ask for baptism. Teenagers and adults may also be baptised. This is celebrated with confirmation by the Bishop. You can only be baptised once, but there are ways of renewing your commitment publicly as an adult – the clergy will be able to advise.
Q I’m not a regular churchgoer. Can I still have my child baptised?
A Yes. The church believes that God’s love is available to all, regardless of their background. One of our Clergy can talk you through the options: you may prefer to have a thanksgiving service first and then consider baptism when you have had time to talk through what is being asked of you. You may also wish to find out more about the Christian faith and what joining the Church involved before you make a decision about baptism. Again, our Clergy can give you guidance.
Q What does it cost?
A The Baptism service is free. There may be a small charge for a certificate or an administration fee. Please ask our Clergy.
Q What is a godparent?
A Godparents make the same promises on behalf of the child being baptised as parents. Godparents promise to pray and support the child and to help the parents to bring up the child in the Christian faith. It is an important and responsible role.
Q How many godparents should I have?
A You should have at least three: two of the same sex as the child and one of the opposite sex. Parents can also be godparents.
Q Who should I choose to be a godparent?
A Godparents can be family members or friends. However, it is important that you choose people who will take an interest in your child’s spiritual welfare and who will pray for you and your child. They should be baptised themselves. Ask our Clergy for advice.